Music this term
The current music list for this term can be downloaded here
Singing in the Choir of Peterhouse in the atmospheric, intimate and candlelit Chapel is a memorable and unique experience, and is for members of the choir one of the highlights of their time at Cambridge. The Director of Music is always interested in hearing from anyone who would like to contribute to the musical life of the Chapel, and to join the choir. There are still places in the choir for singers of all voice parts starting this academic year: for more information, or to arrange an audition, please email the Director of Music.
Peterhouse participates in the University-wide Choral Scholarship scheme: the deadline for applications is in February each year and auditions take palce in March. Anyone with an offer for a place to study at Peterhouse is eligible to apply. If you are interested in applying for a Choral Scholarship, details of how to apply can be found on the University website. Please visit this page for information about how to prepare and what to expect at the audition. You don't have to be a music student to apply: members of the Choir study a wide range of subjects. To apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of the application form (available here), or contact the Director of Music for more information.
If you are interested in applying for an Organ Scholarship at Peterhouse, please click here. The deadline for applications is at the beginning of September. For more information about how to apply for the Organ Scholarship, please visit here. The Director of Music is always happy to hear from potential applicants.
About the choir
Peterhouse Chapel Choir is a friendly and diverse group of singers drawn from the student body of the College and beyond. The Choir is directed by the College's Director of Music, Dr Simon Jackson, and our two undergraduate Organ Scholars. It consists of about twenty-five auditioned singers (SATB) who receive exhibitions or scholarships, singing music from across the centuries in our beautiful candle-lit Chapel. While the time commitment is relatively low, the Choir's musical standards are consistently high. For singers it represents an unparalleled opportunity to play a vital role in a tight-knit and intimate ensemble. Many go on to cathedral choral scholarships or postgraduate vocal studies.
Choral Evensong is sung twice weekly during Full Term, on Wednesdays (at 6.30pm, Michaelmas and Lent Term only) and Sundays (at 6pm). Choral Eucharist is sung once a term at a 6pm service of Corporate Communion. The Choir also sings grace in hall for the four annual College Feasts.
In recent years, the Choir has been exploring repertoire written for and performed in Peterhouse Chapel when it was first built in the seventeenth century, and preserved in the important music manuscripts known as the Peterhouse partbooks - in some cases rediscovering music that hasn't been heard in around 350 years. But the Choir doesn't just perform early music: our repertoire stretches from the sixteenth century to the present day and includes pieces commissioned specially for the choir, most recently Our Gold, a carol by the contemporary composer James Whitbourn (first performed December 2021), setting words by a former Master of Peterhouse Joseph Beaumont.
The Choir tours regularly (see below) to some of the finest destinations in Europe and beyond. Recently, tours have flown the Choir to such contrasting destinations as the Faroe Islands, Venice, Latvia and Lithuania, Rome, and Iceland. All tours are generously subsidised by the College, which is extremely supportive towards the Choir and Organ Scholars.
Members of the Choir receive free singing lessons from Ian Kennedy, Rachel Godsill and Richard Latham.
Please follow the Choir on Twitter @PeterhouseChoir, on Facebook and Instagram for updates on the Choir's activities, services and concerts. You can also hear a selection of recordings of the Choir here, with more recordings available on our YouTube channel.
Touring is a vital part of the life of Peterhouse Chapel Choir. Musically inspiring and culturally rich, these tours are life-changing opportunities for our organ and choral scholars to see exciting and often unusual destinations and to share their music-making with a wider international audience. Each year, the Choir tours internationally to sing in some of the finest buildings in Europe and beyond: recent destinations have included Venice, Tuscany, Provence, Andalucia and Iceland.
Because of the Covid pandemic, the Choir did not tour in 2020 or 2021. The Choir's most recent tour in July 2022 was to Rome, where we sang concerts in S Maria in Campitelli, Portico, San Clemente and at the Anglican Church in Rome, All Saints, where we also sang for a Sunday morning Eucharist. The Organ Scholars enjoyed the opportunity to play music by Frescobaldi on an instrument Frescobaldi had himself played, and the choir sang music by Victoria, Rachmaninov, Orlando Gibbons and others. There was also plenty of opportunity for sight-seeing, including visits to St Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums, the Pantheon and - perhaps most memorably - a chance to explore the extraordinary archeology that lies beneath San Clemente following our concert in the church: blissfully cool after the 40 degree heat outside.
In June 2019 was to the Baltic States, singing concerts and services in Vilnius (Lithuania) and Riga (Latvia). As well as exploring the two very different capital cities of Lithuania and Latvia, the choir also had the chance to explore further afield--visiting the lakes and castle at Trakai, and travelling across Lithuania to the coast to visit Klaipeda and to take a ferry across the Curonian Lagoon to see the Dead Dunes of Nida. Our concert programme included music by Guerrero, Victoria, Bruckner and Holst. We also performed works with particular connections to Peterhouse--including music written by our first Director of Music, Thomas Wilson, in the 1630s, and Peter Aston's setting of 'Fountain of sweets', a poem by Joseph Beaumont (a Fellow of Peterhouse in the 17th Century).
In July 2018, the Choir visited Copenhagen and Tórshavn in the farflung Faroe Islands. Over the course of a week, they sang for a celebration of Holy Communion at Vor Frelser's Kirke, Copenhagen, and Choral Evensong in the Havnar Kirkja (Tórshavn Cathedral) which included a rare chance to sing in Faroese. They also sang two concerts, at St Alban's Anglican Church, Copenhagen and Vesturkirkjan, Tórshavn. Alongside their singing--which included performances of Byrd's Mass for Four Voices, and music by Duruflé, Rachmaninov, and James MacMillan--there was time to climb the famous corkscrew tower of Vor Frelsers, spend time at the Tivoli, and to trek across the misty mountains of the Faroe Islands to St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkjubøer. Video diaries of some of our recent tours can be seen on our YouTube channel.